America Ferrera is stunning on the March cover of Redbook, but her appearance is far from the top of her mind. Inside the magazine, the 32-year-old actress opens up about "unlearning" Hollywood's standard of beauty, and valuing other aspects of character.
"I grew up believing a lot of things about myself that I had to unlearn -- things that pertain to being a good woman, things about my weight or height," Ferrera admits. "As women, you're taught that your value is all about your appearance."
"When I was younger, I felt like everything was make or break. In my career and my relationships, there was a right way or a wrong way -- and I had to fit into the right box," she continues. "I've let go of those narrow definitions and found a balance."
Being able to find that balance has allowed Ferrera to take more chances in Hollywood, and pursue projects and opportunities that she thinks are important.
"We talk about a lot of things we want to see more women doing. We want more women producers, more women writers, more women directors -- and you can only say that so many times before you say, 'I'm a woman. What's stopping me from doing this?'" she shares. "I've had to ask myself: 'Why not me?'"
Ferrera has put herself out there in more ways than one, making strides as a woman, Latina and activist -- though the former Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants star says some successes are just for herself.
"It is true that I represent women, and it is true that I represent Latinas, but it's also true that I'm myself. My successes and my failures don't have to have this enormous weight on them; they can just be mine," she reveals. "Whatever moves you forward, focus on it. Whatever handicaps you or paralyzes you, that's the thing to get rid of."